Hong Kong Stocks Rise, But Data Limit Gains

Hong Kong stocks rose further Monday morning, though a portion of the advance was handed back about half an hour into the session after disappointing Chinese trade data. The Hang Seng Index moved up 0.3%, with most major Chinese banks posting significant gains. Still, the index was off an opening advance of 0.5% after the trade numbers showed exports rising 4.7% from a year earlier, well below an expected 8% increase tipped in a Wall Street Journal survey. Likewise, imports posted an unexpected 6.7% drop against expectations for a 3.5% rise. Still, the banks managed to hold on to their strong advance, as Bank of China Ltd. added 2.2%, China Citic Bank Corp. climbed 2.7%, China Construction Bank Corp. advanced 2.1%, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. improved by 2.2%, and China Minsheng Banking Corp. added 2.6%. Financial firms also popped higher, as Haitong Securities Co. surged 6.9%, leading gains in the sector. Shenyin Wanguo HK Ltd. rose 4.4%, Citic Securities Co. rallied 3.4%, Haitong International Securities Group Co. (formerly Taifook Securities) added 3.3%, and China Galaxy Securities Co. notched a 3% gain. However, energy shares bucked the trend and turned weaker as crude-oil prices moved lower. Offshore-oil producer Cnooc Ltd. declined 2.8%, PetroChina Co. fell 1.9%, and refiner China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, dropped 1.7%. China Oilfield Services Ltd. also suffered a 2.5% loss. Among other movers, online major Tencent Holdings Ltd. traded higher by 1.4% after reports said the the company was partnering with Japanese video-game maker Gungho Online Entertainment to distribute its popular mobile game Puzzle & Dragons in China. Over on the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index reversed opening losses to rise 0.5%, shrugging off the trade data.

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